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Volume 79: debated on Wednesday 22 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to seek to visit Honduras.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
(Mr. Tim Renton)

My right hon. and learned Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Will the Minister welcome the reported pact in Honduras whereby the head of the Supreme Court will be released from gaol and the President will not be allowed to interfere in the forthcoming elections? Will he communicate his support to those in Honduras who wish to disarm the Contras, maintain their national security by not allowing the United States to use their country as a centre of counter-insurgency against Nicaragua, and wish to establish normal, peaceful relations with the Government of Nicaragua? Will he support them, or will he follow President Reagan obediently?

As the hon. Gentleman will know, there were conflicting reports last week about border incidents between Honduras and Nicaragua. The best way to promote peace in the area is to follow the aims of the Contadora group, which we firmly support. As the hon. Gentleman will also know, a settlement between trade unionists and the constitutional groups in Honduras was announced yesterday. President Suazo has gone to Washington for discussions with President Reagan.

Is it not true that the border between Nicaragua and Honduras is now a serious flashpoint? No matter what we say about supporting the Contadora group, the reality is that the United States is losing its head and trying to push troops so near to the border that the Nicaraguans may do something in self-defence and we may have the beginning of another Vietnam. Could we not use our immense influence to cool the President's ardour in this direction and try to get a peaceful settlement?

If the hon. Gentleman reads carefully the reports of yesterday's meeting between President Suazo and President Reagan, he will see that there was a balanced approach on both sides to the problems that he described. The hon. Gentleman and I would agree that the best means of settling the matter is through the Contadora group's attempts to achieve peace throughout the area.